When talking about Tameka Cottle, most people today would think of the popular 1990s group Xscape, while others would be amazed at the bright colors of her eyes. Was she born with light gray eyes? And who is her famous husband?
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Early life and education
Tameka Diane “Tiny” Cottle was born on July 14, 1975 in College Park, Georgia, USA. She grew up in Jonesboro, Georgia, with her mother of European descent, Dianne Cottle, and her father of African American descent, Charles “Speedy” Pope, who was one of the creators of the R&B band with his brother Joseph. The Tams. Cottle got her nickname “Tiny” at Tri-Cities Performing Arts High School in East Point, Georgia, because of her short height. There she made the choice in 1992 to become a member of the all-female R&B quartet Xscape.
She had shot her first commercial at the age of 12 and for a while wanted to pursue an acting career, before turning to music, thanks to her father’s suggestions.
Not long after forming, Cottle’s band performed at a birthday ceremony for producer Jermaine Dupri’s party, and Dupri was captivated by the group’s sound. He signed the girls to So So Def Recordings, his newly opened record label, almost the same day.
The group’s debut album, “Hummin’ Commin’ at ‘Cha”, was released in 1993 and went platinum the following year, and with it came some of their biggest hits, including “Understanding” and “Just Kickin’ It”. It was followed by their second and third platinum albums, “The Hook” and “Traces of My Lipstick”. Cottle was lead vocals on several of Xscape’s hit singles, such as the aforementioned “Understanding”, as well as “All I Need”, “My Little Secret”, and “Am I Dreaming”.
She also won two Soul Train Music Awards, one for Best New R&B Artist and the second for Best R&B Album. As a member of Xscape, she also won the A-Town Music Award for Best Duo/Group. However, despite their great success, after the release of their third album in 1998, the band fell apart and the girls split up.
Career after the ’00s
Cottle, along with her former Xscape bandmate Kandi Burruss, was honored in 2000 with a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song, TLC’s “No Scrubs”. Cottle also won the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Award in the Pop and R&B Music category for the same song. Her performance for the Sporty Thievz hit “No Pigeons” earned her the ASCAP Rap Award. During the same period, she also collaborated with 8Ball & MJG, Bow Wow, Lil’ Kim and her future husband TI. In 2005, Xscape former members LaTocha and Tamika Scott announced their reunion with Cottle to release the band’s fourth album, Unchained”.
They were joined by a newly added member, Kiesha Miles, and released a new single titled “What’s Up”. However, the record label failed to promote the album and the band was once again dismantled. Despite this, Cottle remained in a good relationship with Kiesha Miles and together they founded a teen group called “OMG Girlz”.
In 2009, Cottle co-starred with rapper Lil Wayne’s ex-wife Antonia “Toya” Wright on BET’s reality TV series “Tiny and Toya”, which ended after its second season in 2010. Cottle created her own label – Pretty Hustle – in 2014 and at 22nd July released her first solo track “What the Fuck You Gon Do?” which quickly reached #1 on the Soul/R&B charts on iTunes. She also co-wrote Ed Sheeran’s hit single “Shape of You”. Cottle rejoined the original Xscape group members in 2017, for their first performance in 18 years at the BET Awards.
A few months after that, Xscape was signed to their own record label, XSCAP3 Entertainment, and in 2018 they released their EP “Here for It”.
Relationship with Zebu
In 1992, Cottle was in a long-term relationship with musician Zonnie “Zebu” Pullins, and at 20e In March 1996 they gave birth to their daughter Zonnique Pullins. The couple separated two years later, in 1998, after Zebu ended up in prison. Zonnique was also one of the members of Cottle’s teenage girl band OMG Girlz which was active from 2009 to 2015.
In 2000, Cottle began dating rapper T.I. On 25e In August 2004, they had their first child, King Harris, and in 2007, after six months of a complicated pregnancy, Cottle gave birth to a stillborn daughter, Leyah Amore Harris. Their second son, Major Philant Harris, was born at 16e May 2008.
Two years later, at 30e In July 2010, the duo finally tied the knot, and at 26e In March 2016, the couple welcomed their daughter, heiress Diana Harris. However, by the end of that same year, Cottle had filed for divorce, but she dropped the divorce file several months later, and according to some, the couple is happier than ever, and as of early 2020, they are still married.
The family bustle
In late 2011, Cottle and her husband premiered their own VH1 reality series called “TI & Tiny: The Family Hustle”. The show ran for six seasons and ended in May 2017 due to the couple’s temporary separation.
Cottle was close to her father before his passing in 2013. She had stated multiple times that he was the one responsible for her singing career and that he always pushed her forward. In her own words“(…) he didn’t leave me alone when he found out I had a present.”
Before her relationship with Zebu and marriage to T.I., Cottle was in a relationship with another famous rapper, Tupac Shakur, who was murdered in 1996. Just a few months after their wedding, she and her husband were arrested in September 2010 for substance abuse driving. The couple was fined $10,000 and the scandal was all over the media for a short time. In addition to her music and reality TV career, Cottle also had her own liquor line called “Tiny Tequila”.
Through her husband, she is a step mother of three children named Messiah, Domani and Deyjah who has TI from previous relationships. She is very active on Instagram and has 6.3 million followers as of March 2020.
In 2014, Cottle made headlines after going to Africa to undergo a controversial and potentially dangerous surgery to change her eye color from brown to gray. “They go into the eye and they make a little slit.
They take an implant and it folds up. They open it [and] smear it over your eye,” she said of the procedure during a interview for ABC news. This surgery is illegal in the US and many medical professionals have reported problems with people, mainly celebrities and Instagram models, traveling to third world countries like India as the potential risks are huge and include glaucoma and cataracts. The company that performed her procedure, BrightOcular, has had its own fair share of controversies, so many people have openly appraised Cottle’s decision.
The outrage only got worse when her daughter Zonnique traveled to Tunisia the following year and underwent the same eye color change procedure; however, her eye color implants were removed in 2018 for unknown reasons. Perhaps the stories about people with damaged irises touched her and she no longer wanted to risk developing eye defects.
Cottle still had no regrets about her own “new” eyes.
Cottle’s net worth is estimated to be around $8 million, mainly earned from her music and reality TV career. Having a wealthy husband certainly helped, and in 2004 the couple purchased a home in Los Angeles, California for nearly $1.5 million.
Cottle has a short build and is only 4ft 11ins (1.50m) tall, and for this she got her nickname “Tiny”. She always proudly shows off her curves and sexy body. Her hair is black and although her natural eye color is dark brown, she has permanently changed them to light gray, which has become her new signature look.